The Nuggets got off a 15-year schneid last month, winning their first playoffseries since 1994. Facing the Lakers in the Western Conference finals givesthem a chance to end another nasty streak. (Games 2 and 3 are on Thursday andSaturday on ESPN and ABC, respectively.) Denver has never beaten Los Angeles inthe postseason; the four losses include sweeps in 2008 and 1987.
This is an article from the May 25, 2009 issue
NCAA Lacrosse Championships
New blood? Not here. A familiar crowd will gather in Foxborough, Mass.(Saturday's games are on ESPN2; Monday's final is on ESPN.) In one semi,defending champ Syracuse faces Duke, making its fourth final four appearance infive years. In the other, top seed Virginia (seven final four trips in the last10 years) meets Cornell (two in the last three years).
Baseball purists still cringe, but 35,587 interleague fans can't all be wrong.That was the average crowd for last year's AL-NL games, the highest attendancesince interleague play debuted in 1997 and 2% higher than the 2007 average. Oneteam that won't be happy when the crossover starts on Friday: the Pirates, whohave the majors' worst interleague win percentage (.380).
A whiff of Tony Stewart
Since 2006 the NASCAR driver has raised money for charity by auctioning offtowels used to mop his brow after Sprint Cup wins. It's been awhile (he got hisfirst victory in seven months last Saturday), but Stewart fans, start yourbidding! Submit an offer—the towels are unwashed and autographed—atoldspice.com. Proceeds go to the Tony Stewart Foundation.
Dinara Safina is the world's top-ranked women's player, and last weekend shewon her second straight tournament on clay, the Madrid Open. That makes her agood bet to win her first Grand Slam title, at the French Open, which beginsthis Sunday. (Early-round matches are on ESPN2.) Safina, a 23-year-old Russian,lost in the final to Ana Ivanovic last year at Roland Garros.
Indy 500 Of course Danica Patrick will attract attention at the Brickyard.(Will she win! Will she bicker on pit road!) But the better show on Sunday(ABC) could be the IRL's generational showdown. Last year's champ, Scott Dixon,a grizzled 28, will try to beat two descendants of racing royalty. GrahamRahal, 20, son of Bobby; and Marco Andretti, 22, grandson of Mario, start inthe top eight.
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Votto thinks Cuban's most recent spat—the Mavs' owner(above) harassed the mother of Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin after a playoffgame—makes him a clear choice for a timeout. Sprewell's attack on then Warriorscoach P.J. Carlismo was 12 years ago, but it still resonates with Feldman:"You're not supposed to actually choke your coach."